NEW YORK – Sean Payton is back as coach of the New Orleans Saints.
Payton’s season-long suspension for his role in the Saints’ bounty program was lifted by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday, nearly two weeks earlier than expected.
The decision allows Payton to attend the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Saturday, where some of the top college players available for the NFL draft will be competing.
Payton, along with assistant head coach Joe Vitt, general manager Mickey Loomis, and four players including Jonathan Vilma, was suspended after an investigation found the club had a performance pool offering cash rewards for key plays, including big hits. The player suspensions eventually were overturned.
The suspension was scheduled to end after the Super Bowl on Feb. 3 but was moved up after Payton and Goodell met on Monday.
Colts name offensive line coach
The Colts promoted Joe Gilbert to offensive line coach. He was the assistant offensive line coach last season.
Gilbert replaces Harold Goodwin, who was hired by Bruce Arians as Arizona’s new offensive coordinator.
Revisions proposed for Rooney Rule
The Fritz Pollard Alliance wants the Rooney Rule to include coordinators, assistant head coaches and club president positions.
The proposal sent to league executives came a week after no minorities were hired for eight coaching vacancies and seven general manager openings.
Around the league
New England’s Tom Brady could be fined if the NFL believes he violated safety rules with his leg-up slide that hit Baltimore safety Ed Reed in the AFC title game. Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph, a former Notre Dame standout, was named to his first Pro Bowl. He replaces the injured Tony Gonzalez.
The NFL is looking into technology that could bring the imaginary first-down line that is used in TV broadcasts to all 32 NFL stadiums. The NFL is hoping to decide the fate of the Pro Bowl by the time it releases next season’s schedule in April.
Dallas owner Jerry Jones said coach Jason Garrett may give up play-calling duties on offense. Jacksonville hired Mike Mallory as special teams coordinator.